Your house becomes your home when you get it just the way you like it — inside and out. Inside your home, you choose so many things to make it your own: paint, flooring, fixtures, furniture, appliances, artwork and decorative items. Outside your home, aside from the design, colour and materials, it’s all about the landscaping.
When you think about different aspects of your property, you probably don’t immediately connect the dots between landscaping and your home’s foundation. However, the relationship between the two is actually rather important – both for aesthetic appeal and structural integrity. Educating yourself on the role landscaping plays will help you make smart choices moving forward.
Foundation planting is different from other landscaping in that it’s not only used to beautify your property but it’s also tasked with protecting the home’s foundation. Here’s how to choose the right plants and follow the correct techniques to maximize aesthetic appeal and structural integrity.
Landscape all sides of your foundation — the goal of foundation planting and landscaping is to establish as much consistency as you can around the property. You want every part of the foundation to be uniform and you want to make sure you landscape every side of your home. The back of your property is just as important as the front — if you only plant on one side of your property, you’ll also only water one side of the property. This means just a portion of your soil will expand while the other soil will retain its size and consistency.
Curb appeal — when planting around your home’s foundation, you have to take curb appeal into account. Since these plants are right up near your home, they play an important role in the overall appeal of your property. This can directly impact your resale value if you ever decide to put the home on the market. Some of the top curb appeal plants include hydrangeas, azaleas, rhododendrons and rose bushes. When planting, think about the depth of the root systems and how much watering they require.
Sizing — when planting, you must have the foresight to consider the correct size and scale. Failing to think about final size at maturity is probably the number one mistake homeowners make. Do your research before planting: ask your local nursery, drive around and observe mature landscaping in your area and read through advice columns online. The last thing you want to do is invest in landscaping that won’t look good or serve a functional purpose in the future — plan before you plant.
Existing trees — when planting around your home’s foundation, this is also the perfect time to assess your current risk. Look at existing trees and consider removing them if they’re too close to your house, less than 10 to 20 feet. If you can’t remove them, root pruning may be the best choice — the last thing you want is for roots to interfere with your foundation’s health.
Slope — aside from planting, you also need to be aware of the slope of pavement and landscaping features on your lot, specifically paying attention to any changes that may occur. Cracked sidewalks, sagging patios, and erosion may seem like minor aesthetic flaws but they can lead to some pretty serious and damaging effects if you aren’t careful. When these surfaces deteriorate, water can find its way into your crawl space or basement, which in turn can lead to mold, mildew, and potentially structural damage.